We are a month and more into a new year, and it’s not too late to get on board with new technology to ensure your dental practice remains profitable in 2019. These tips are trends to consider as you evaluate potential changes for your practice.

3D Printing for your Dental Practice

Stay ahead of your competition. 3D resin printing is growing in the dentistry. 3D printing allows dental practices to offer patients customized solutions for many problems. From implants to crowns, dentures or orthodontics, 3D resin printing gives you a heads up over your competition. There is even a solution for sleep apnea.

Be sure to use signage and brochures in your waiting room to promote quicker turn-around and new services for existing patients.

Creative Financing for Patients

Research indicates that cost is a major factor in not going to the dentist. A second major reason is potential patients can’t find a dentist who accepts their dental insurance. The majority of people in the U.S. have dental insurance through an employer’s plan, a public plan like Medicaid, or through privately purchased insurance. If you’re not keeping your chairs booked, study the top employers in your area and which dental insurance they provide. Only you can decide whether accepting more PPO plans will benefit your practice.

You might find that offering a no-interest medical credit card helps potential patients pay for more expensive procedures. Some dentists offer in-house financing, but you must be committed to carefully managing those accounts.

Digitize your Records

The healthcare field, and dental practices in particular, have been slower than most than most other industries to digitize their patient records. Many dental practices are comfortable maintaining patient privacy with paper records maintained on-site.

If you’re utilizing online scheduling and have converted to digital x-rays, this year would be a good time to convert your patient records to paperless. Storing your practice’s patient records in the cloud offers several advantages – backup of records in the event of a natural disaster or fire, compliance to HIPAA and enhanced security to patients’ financial records.

Enhance your Patients’ Experience

In many communities, competition is keen among dental practices to attract new patients. How can you differentiate your practice from your competitors? Consider enhancing your patients’ experience – many patients are apprehensive about their procedures – enhancing their visit with some extra touches can help set your dentist apart from your competitors.

Simple touches like in the waiting room to offering optional spa treatments (such as an upright chair or reflexology) are ways to differentiate your practice from others while offering a cash-at-the-time of service to your bottom line. Not only will you attract more affluent clients, but you’ll improve your online reviews.

Extension of the CHIP program through 2023

The CHIP program was extended through 2023. This provides a double opportunity to provide dental care not only for children but also for their parents. Parents may feel that they can afford their own dental care with their children enrolled in the CHIP program.

Target former patients with a direct mail campaign or social media campaign to jog their memory that it’s time for a cleaning and checkup.

Marketing efforts toward young families with children helps remind parents of the importance of dental care for their children.

Growth and Advantages of a Group Practice

Group dental practices are on the rise. One of the economic forces driving this trend is the amount of student debt that recent dental student graduates often have student debt in excess of $250,000. Young dentists find that joining a group offers many advantages, including shared expenses, shared staff and a sense of belonging.

Group dentistry practices can navigate the changing healthcare scene more easily and are able to wield more influence when it comes to approving insurance coverage and payment scales.

Monitor Online Reviews

Virtually all consumers rely on online reviews before choosing a dentist or other healthcare provider. Have you checked your online presence recently? Do you regularly review the online reviews your patient’s post?

You might believe that a patient would come directly to you to report a problem. However, disgruntled patients are likely to just complain by posting a negative review.

Virtually all consumers are turned off by negative reviews. Yet, sadly, only about one-third of businesses respond to a negative review. Most consumers have a more favorable opinion of businesses who respond to negative reviews. Develop a regular online review schedule to ensure a positive online image.

The Role of Facebook

The algorithms changed in April 2018. Most probably, you will be spending more money in 2019 to maintain the same amount of engagement. Savvy dental practices will study past post results to discern who their target market really is. Choosing engaging content and directing it toward your target market can still be an effective way to keep existing patients and bring new patients to your practice.

It’s important to retain existing patients while recruiting new clients. Retention is critical to every dental practice’s bottom line. By focusing on these tips, you can keep your dental practice profitable in 2019.